How To Succeed As A Writer

As a​ professional copywriter, I'm often asked by aspiring copywriters what they need to​ do to​ succeed. Most of​ their questions center around writing ability. They want to​ know how to​ find out if​ they have the talent to​ succeed, or​ if​ there's a​ "test" they can take that will tell them if​ they're a​ good enough writer to​ actually get paid to​ write.

Well, for better or​ for worse, writing ability has very little to​ do with a​ writer's ultimate success. (Business owners who want to​ write to​ promote their business, take note -- I'm talking to​ you as​ well.)

If there was a​ test out there (and there isn't by the way) but if​ there was, I would say the test would deal only with your attitude about writing and leave ability flat out of​ it.

Yes, you heard me right. Attitude over ability. That's the key to​ success.

I know. It's hard to​ hear. as​ writers, we want so badly to​ be told our work is​ good, that it​ has merit, that we truly are talented. I'm not sure why so many of​ us need that exterior validation -- perhaps because writing is​ such a​ solitary, inner activity that when we do finally come up for air, we want to​ make sure we haven't been wasting our time.

But to​ be honest, it​ is​ possible to​ become a​ professional writer, to​ be paid for your work, and not be terribly talented. (In fact, I'll do you one better. It's even possible to​ force overworked, exhausted college students in​ English Lit classes to​ read your books and not be all that talented. Case in​ point: Thomas Hardy.)

When I look at​ professional writers (and I include authors in​ this category) the common denominator I see isn't writing talent. it​ isn't even a​ desire to​ write -- I know, it's kind of​ strange, but there's more than a​ few of​ those folks out there.

It's a​ desire to​ succeed as​ a​ writer.

If you're determined to​ succeed as​ a​ writer, and have the will and the mindset to​ do it, then you'll succeed at​ it. Period.

Now, that doesn't mean you can skip working hard, honing your craft or, yes, actually putting pen to​ paper or​ hands to​ keyboard and churning out words. You have to​ be determined enough to​ do what it​ takes. to​ make the necessary sacrifices. to​ actually do the work. And, to​ know setbacks will happen and obstacles will appear and learn to​ take them in​ stride.

Not everyone is​ going to​ like what you've written. I don’t care how good you are. You're going to​ get some, if​ not a​ truckload, of​ criticism along the way. But, again, that's part of​ your attitude. You have to​ be able to​ take the rejection, the criticism, or​ the just plain mean comments in​ stride. You have to​ pick yourself up and keep going. Because you know in​ your heart you're on the right path and you won't allow those nasty people derail you.

And that, my friends, is​ what it​ takes to​ be a​ writer.

Creativity Exercise -- Get the right attitude

People have written books about changing your attitude, so I'm not going to​ pretend this exercise is​ the end-all, be-all. But it's a​ start.

Twice a​ day, place your hand on your chest and say out loud "I choose to​ become a​ successful writer. I have the attitude of​ a​ successful writer." This is​ a​ declaration, not an​ affirmation. According to​ T. Harv Eker, author of​ "Secrets of​ the Millionaire Mind," declarations are more powerful than affirmations. Declarations simply declare your intent rather than state your goal is​ already happening (which is​ an​ affirmation.) When you state your goal as​ if​ it's already happening, a​ little voice inside you usually pipes up and says "that's a​ load of​ crap" thus making it​ harder to​ change your attitude. But if​ you simply state the intention, then no little voice chimes in​ to​ tell you otherwise.

And, when you say it​ out loud, you're letting your subconscious know, the universe know, and the cells in​ your body know (because they can feel the energy) what you're intending to​ do. Placing a​ hand on your chest allows you to​ feel that energy. So change happens faster. if​ you also look in​ the mirror, you'll accelerate that change even more.

Above all, remember this: Believe and it​ WILL happen.

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